Union Airlines Douglas DC-8-63
Douglas DC-8-63 | N8037E
Pratt and Whitney JT3D-7
Delivered to Union Airlines, 1968
Converted Douglas DC-8-63 (CF), 1977
Transferred to Union World Cargo, 1978
Converted Douglas DC-8-73CF, 1984
Retired from Union World Cargo, 1991
Stored at MHV, 1992
Bought by Parcels Service of America, 1995
Crashed Near IAD, 2006
Status: Written Off
Union was not known to be a DC-8 operator, at all. They were a 707 airline, plain and simple. The 707 was the first, and the best, jet aircraft to be released to the American aviation market. It had a decent range, capacity, and speed compared to former piston airliners, but there was always something lacking with the aircraft. Although the intercontinental -320B had a massive range and capacity, they needed larger airliners for profitable flights to the Orient with no need for a refuel stop in Honolulu. Their answer to this problem was the Douglas DC-8-63. For the first time in Union’s history they will operate a DC-8 in their mainline fleet. The first DC-8 flew from San Francisco to Tokyo Narita which ironically had a fuel stop in Honolulu. From there, the remaining 11 DC-8s were delivered and flew for Union for about 10 years until they were succeeded by the Douglas DC-10-30 and DC-10-40. The retired DC-8 fleet was moved to Mojave and some were converted to freighters. A handful were converted to the DC-8-73 series until even they were retired in ‘93. Most of these DC-8-73 were scrapped and only 1 or 2 Union World Cargo DC-8s still remain partially intact at the scrapyard. There is no surviving Union DC-8, all have been destroyed, scrapped, or broken up.
This DC-8, N8037E, was the second DC-8-63 delivered to the airline. It was delivered in 1968. In 1977 it was converted to a freighter and given to Union World Cargo. In 184 it was modified to the more-efficient DC-8-73. The jet was retired in 1991 from Union World Cargo. It was “succeeded” by the 747-400F. In 1992 it was stored at Mojave and 3 years later a cargo airline purchased it. In 2006 the plane burned up and crashed after a go-around at Dulles. A faulty fire sensor (improperly maintained by the airline, not the fault of Union) did not alert the crew to a cabin fire, and although they were clear to land, a Union 737-800 was still taxiing on the runway after a landing. The aircraft was completely destroyed and everyone onboard died.
There have been no incidents aboard a Union Airlines Douglas DC-8-63.